Media Release: AJ+C announces two new principals
media release 20.03.20

Media Release: AJ+C announces two new principals

Sydney, NSW, Australia

AJ+C announces two new owners, John Whittingham (above, left), and Brian Mariotti (above, right) who join Michael Heenan (above, centre) as principals in one of Sydney’s most respected architecture and urban design practices.

Michael Heenan (CEO, Principal, design) said the appointments mark a leadership restructure and renewal for a practice with a proud 68-year history. ‘The invitation for Brian and John to be principals reflects their skills and outstanding contribution to AJ+C over many years: Brian as leader of our Multi-residential and Student Accommodation projects, and John as leader of Sport and Community’.

Brian Mariotti led the AJ+C team on Darling Square 1 and 2 for Urbanest – two 20-storey towers in the Sydney CBD and is currently leading a student accommodation project in Redfern with two 18-storey towers, a new laneway and public art space connecting to the Redfern-Waterloo art trail.

In the growth corridor of Western Sydney, Brian is designing the Parramatta South Gateway Precinct and a new precinct in Liverpool where 260 residential apartments mixed with retail and commercial services. It’s being designed to the AJ+C’s Urban Backyard principles for family-friendly high-density living, and inverts the typical tower model.

‘Our research of the demographics for Liverpool found a high proportion of families living in apartments, but no real ‘family-focused’ developments on the horizon. We’re addressing this by locating typical high-street amenities and retail services within the building podium, and instead of putting the penthouses up top with the best views, we’re putting the larger, 3-bedroom apartments on the podium so they directly access the roof gardens – like a neighbourhood park on their doorstep. Working at this scale is pivotal because we’re creating new communities and precincts where people will live, work and come together to socialise.’

John Whittingham is using sport as an agent of social change, focused on a statewide reduction in youth depression, incarceration and suicide, by revolutionising sport, education and community facilities.

His work has been highly awarded, from his influence on Olympic projects to NSW Sport and Recreation venues and other major sporting bodies. John is currently working alongside the Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC), radically reconceptualising their facilities state-wide to enable not only greater community engagement, but a more fruitful relationship between youth schools and the justice system.

John led the Broken Hill YMCA Integrated Health & Wellness Centre – which turned a failing facility and into a community wellness centre with first class sports facilities, dedicated youth and allied health spaces. YMCA Broken Hill is currently competing at the 2020 NSW Architecture Awards.

‘This is a transformational project for a regional Australian city. It’s not about heroic architecture, but a replanning of the site, and some sensitive interventions that turned a failing centre into a thriving community hub offering vital health services and dedicated youth spaces.’

Mark Louw has joined the three owners on Executive Leadership Team, which is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the practice.

Peter Ireland remains with AJ+C, continuing his valuable contributions to design and talent development and he has now passed on the baton of ownership to the next generation.

For high-resolution images, interviews or information, contact Joanne Sim, Clients + Markets Manager
t: +61 415 548 532; e:

A place for wildness: Eumundi House
media release 10.02.20

A place for wildness: Eumundi House

‘The idea for turning a shed inside out for the horses came from watching how the herd would congregate under one of several mature fig trees on the property. They were sheltered but free to move, to adapt to both the weather and personality disputes within the herd. No fences, gates or corals that typical farm buildings use to control the movement of animals. So although it’s a small project, it’s quite radical in the rural context.’ – Peter Ireland, Principal AJ+C

Eumundi House reflects a different approach to rural life. The clients wanted the architecture of three modest new structures to help forge a close relationship with a herd of brumbies that now have free rein of their 35-acre property in the Noosa hinterland.

The design maintains an original farmstead and adds two outbuildings: a modest home of one bedroom plus study, and a detached garage. Together with the farmstead, they define the property’s domesticated zone without the fences or barricades typical to rural estates. Downhill to the west, a horse pavilion is added beside a large unfenced paddock, where the owner works with the horses. The lack of fences between house and outbuildings supports the clients’ greater landscape projects of habitat regeneration to encourage diversity, and free movement of wildlife and the horses across the property. Their vision is not a wilderness as such, but a place for wildness.

New structures reference Australian rural vernaculars in form and materials of corrugated steel and timber. The new house is carved around the site, responding to the landscape, culminating in a high roof gable to the north, framing a view of Mt Cooroy – a significant natural feature of the region. Geometry of the house evolved from a simple shed form of gable roof over orthogonal plan, with the gable roof extending above the living room and partially over the north deck. The detached garage is a simpler form, a mediating fragment between the house and original farmstead.

The first new structure to be built – the horse pavilion – turns the typical horse shelter inside out, with no corrals or gates to confine or cause injury. At its core are a ‘tack’ room, trailor and food store, supporting a broad cantilevered roof. Essentially a verandah, under which the horses can freely move.The design maintains an original farmstead and adds two outbuildings: a modest home of one bedroom plus study, and a detached garage. Together with the farmstead, they define the property’s domesticated zone without the fences or barricades typical to rural estates. Downhill to the west, a horse pavilion is added beside a large unfenced paddock, where the owner works with the horses.

‘Cohabitation with the horses was a driving force in us building a new home here. The herd congregates regularly at the verandah waiting for me; it’s one of my greatest joys. The design has given the gift of freedom and choice in the essential structures needed for living.’ – Lynn Scott, client

It is separate yet visible from the house, allowing a respectful close contact between horses and people. The house and outdoor decks are elevated to allow the horses safe, but limited access to the domestic edges of the house. A strong working relationship with the local builder and tradespeople saw a skilled resolution of the west-facing timber screen, to operate effortlessly as a louvre, while elegantly referencing the crude slab huts of early settlement.

Roof areas perform several sustainability functions with broad eaves mitigating sun, rainwater harvesting for irrigation and solar panels to come. A ‘spitter’ off the north gable directs runoff into a new riparian zone encouraging ecological diversity. To mitigate sun on the west face of the house, rough-sawn planks, sourced from a local mill, are assembled into a rustic screen, pivoting like louvres.

Count down to World Architecture Festival 2019
media release 27.11.19

Count down to World Architecture Festival 2019

Let the games begin!

Just a few days to go until the World Architecture Festival (WAF). The largest global gathering of architects, planners and designers (the ‘built environment Olympics’!) kicks off on Wednesday 4 December. Thousands of architects, planners and designers are right now heading to the host city of Amsterdam, where they’ll compete for the highest honours of: World Building of the Year, Future Project of the Year, Interior of the Year and Landscape of the Year.

For our CEO & Principal Design, Michael Heenan, 2019 is a very special WAF – his 10th year as an invited judge or jury chair. It’s also 10 years since he accepted AJ+C’s WAF award for Berry Recreation Hall, Berry Sports and Recreation Centre, as 2009 Sports Category winner. We followed this in 2017, winning World Future Project of the Year and Future Masterplan of the Year for Sydney Fish Market Reference Scheme, which unlocks kilometres of harbour foreshore for the city.

“One of the great joys and benefits of judging at WAF is you’re exposed to the most innovative new architecture and planning ideas on the planet. The breadth and scale is staggering. This year some of my favourite projects are in Education. The rapid change of pedagogy world-wide, and its effect on future workplaces, makes this the most acutely observed category, in my view,” says Michael.

WAF presentations run to strict rules and timing. The competition taps into our collegiate spirit. Every year AJ+C helps Australian WAF contenders sharpen their pitch by hosting a practice night in our Sydney studio, inviting shortlisted local architects to present in front of eminent judges.

“They’re not judging the building, but presentation style and the ability to influence. It’s become a great annual event in our studio, not only for the talks, but the chance to engage the profession in discussions.”

For interview opportunity with Michael Heenan please contact:

Dimity Pinto 0412 164 333

Social Media

news 20.03.20
AJ+C announces two new principals

We are all focussed on the current priorities and evolving challenges of COVID-19. However, we are still looking to the future with some positive news. . Today we start a new chapter in our proud 68-year history, in announcing two new owners, Brian Mariotti and John Whittingham, who join Michael Heenan as principals and custodians of the business. . ‘The invitation for John and Brian to be principals reflects their skills and outstanding contribution to AJ+C over many years: Brian as leader of our Multi-residential and Student Accommodation projects, and John as leader of Sport and Community.’ Michael Heenan (CEO, Principal, design). . . #architectsajc #architecture #australian_architecture @mheenan20

news 11.03.20
Warriewood Valley Community Centre

AJ+C were invited by Northern Beaches Council to participate in a design competition for the Warriewood Valley Community Centre, as one of 5 selected architects. . Our design takes inspiration from the topography, history and culture of Warriewood. It captures the story of the natural features as well as the human occupation of this place. Our design is characterised by a big roof which provides a powerful sense of togetherness for the diverse range of people and activities that will give life to the centre. . Our proposal is a cost-effective, practical, durable and flexible building that addresses the functional brief and technical constraints of the site, and is additionally imbued with the joyful and unique identity of the Warriewood people. All layout and planning decisions were based primarily on responsible sustainable design considerations which would ensure the building’s life-time carbon footprint would be reduced as much as possible. . Congratulations to @terroir_ , the winner of this invitation only competition. . This Friday 13 March, AJ+C will be hosting a presentation evening as part of our ”Design Studio” series, inviting all 4 firms to present. We look forward to learning from 4 different design approaches to the project. . Image: @virtualideas . @lahznimmoarchitects @ stewartarchitecture @fitzpatrickpartners @terroir_ . #warriewoodcommunitycentre #architectsajc #designstudio

news 11.02.20
Koala Adoption

To help the survival of our iconic native koalas, AJ+C has shown further commitment to the @portmacquariekoalahospital by adopting all the exhibition koalas for the year.🐨 . These adoptions will also help the hospital with the rescue and treatment of sick and injured koalas and release them back to their home range if possible. It will also aid the preservation and expansion of habitat, collection of information for research relating to habitat, disease, nutrition of wild koalas, to provide educational material and to increase public awareness of all aspects of the koalas. . . #bushfireaustralia #prayforaustralia #bushfires #koalarescue #koalaadoption #architectsajc #koalahospital

news 8.02.20
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Early last year AJ+C supported the @portmacquariekoalahospital with a design concept for a complete revamp. This included new publicly accessible permanent resident koala yard up amongst the trees, aswell as private rehab yards, new clinical facilities, museum kiosk, training, research and meeting places. . We are excited to announce that this work has been instrumental in the hospital being granted $5M of the $6.25M upgrade. . With less than estimated 100,000 koalas left in the wild, the protection of these iconic native animals has become even more crucial. . It is our hope that this grant will help the hospital to treat more burnt, injured and orphaned koalas and nurse them back into the wild. . #architectsajc #koalahospital #bushfireaustralia